There were nearly 10,000 fewer crimes recorded in the Devon and Cornwall Police force area in the year to June 2020 than there were in the previous 12 months, the Office for National Statistics said.
The period covered by the report out today included the first 11 weeks of restrictions on people’s movement and activity in order to control the spread of the disease.
There were 54 crimes per 1,000 people in Devon and Cornwall, down 5.3% from 57 per 1,000 in the previous 12 months, meaning it was the second safest force area of 43 in England and Wales.
The number of recorded crimes reduced 9.5% year on year.
There were particularly significant drops in theft from the person and theft (-29.6% and -22.9% respectively), vehicle offences (-24.0%), shoplifting (26.2%) and burglary (16.1%).
Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “These are not ordinary times, and consequently these are not an ordinary set of figures.
“I’m pleased that with all the doom and gloom around we can deliver some good news in that residents of Devon and Cornwall are safer in terms of a crime threat than they have been. Lockdown made life harder for criminals, and it also made it easier for police to identify criminal activity like county lines drug dealing.
“It’s also important to note that while it might have wrought havoc in many ways, coronavirus has not prevented a recruitment drive that has added 144 more police officers to overall force strength this financial year, that’s more additional police officers than we’ve had in at least a decade. These new recruits will make it easier to retain our place as one of the safest force areas in the country.
“I’d like to thank the hard-working officers, staff and partners who have kept going in difficult circumstances and who kept Devon and Cornwall open to visitors this summer while maintaining some of the lowest infection rates in the country.”
The force with the lowest crime rate for the period was North Yorkshire, with 53.3 crimes per 1,000 residents. Only six forces, Gloucestershire, Thames Valley, Norfolk, Sussex, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire, saw an increase in crime for the period.
Cleveland saw the highest recorded crime rate, with 118.0 crimes per 1,000 people.
- This article was amended on November 11, 2020, to clarify that the percentage decrease in crime rate was 5.3% and not 9.5%, as an earlier version stated. The 9.5% reduction relates to the year on year variance in total recorded crime.